The business community has experienced an unprecedented wave of consolidation and internationalisation over the past few decades. The Swiss Life Group, and its transnational business unit Corporate Solutions, have a key role to play in supporting this development.
The internationalisation of business corporations necessarily involves increased workforce mobility. Indeed, the higher levels of contact and exchange between parent companies and local staff, as well as between branches, are central to the proper functioning and cohesion of international groups. More and more people now find themselves working in locations outside their home country or the country where they signed their initial contract with the multinational employer. These people are known as "expatriates".

Mobility imposes employee benefit challenges
Various features of this segment of the population set them apart from the traditional workforce, most notably: greater mobility. It is rare for an expatriate to put down roots in the host country. More often than not, at the end of an assignment, expatriates return to their native lands or take a job in another country. Moreover, expatriates have above-average levels of education as well as higher levels of pay. As a result, this group has very specific requirements for their retirement savings and risk coverages.

Expatriates need continuity of coverage
Above all, expatriates have a need for continuity. The legal systems in the host countries can be very diverse, and sometimes even non-existent or inapplicable as far as expatriates are concerned. Expatriates need coverage that transcend these differences, and ensures normal retirement benefits, with adequate protection in the event of death, disability, or medical treatment. And the cover needs to be global.

Flexibility and customised solutions
In addition, expatriates expect flexibility and customised solutions. They are likely to have different individual requirements depending on their career path or family situation. The risk coverage required by an expatriate who moves from one host country to another with his or her family can be even higher if there is little chance of the spouse finding a suitable job in the new location.

Portability and service
Finally, the mechanism by which entitlements are vested needs to reflect the expectations of both the expatriates and their employers, and must ensure optimum portability of their retirement plans. Plus: red tape should be reduced and smooth service guaranteed.

Swiss Life’s cross-border expatriate strategy
These matters are at the heart of the cross-border development strategy at Swiss Life’s transnational business unit Corporate Solutions. For several years now, Swiss Life has been using contracts based in Luxembourg to cover expatriates with large multinationals, thereby taking advantage of the possibilities offered by Luxembourg's open international approach.

Integrated solutions for expatriates
Corporate Solutions is now going a step further by offering new and integrated solutions for expatriates. These solutions provide a systematic, targeted and pragmatic response to the challenges for international plans: regulatory framework, underwriting requirements, relations with the insureds, and choice of language among others.

Flexible benefit plans
The retirement coverage is based on Swiss Flex-Invest, a product that offers the expatriate a choice of investment profiles, including formulas for guaranteed benefits or interest rates, in a framework established jointly with the employer.

Competitive risk costs
Risk coverage is adapted to the needs of expatriates in terms of structure and amount, and formulated in a way that limits the administrative burden borne by employers, insureds and beneficiaries. The coverage extends to death, accident and disability – and in the near future health insurance. Premium rates are competitive, with geographical exclusions and steep increases in future premiums kept to a minimum. There is flexibility to provide cover for relocations and business trips outside the expatriate's customary place of employment.

Depending on the employee benefit plan set-up, the solution will utilise Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. as the insurer, or the international pension fund established by Swiss Life, which is also in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.

Please look out for more details, which will be relased shortly, on this exciting new range of benefit solutions for expatriates.